Donaire out of action until May with injured orbital bone
By Chris Williams: Former three division world champion Nonito Donaire (32-2, 21 KO’s) won’t be back in the ring until May due to injured orbital be he suffered in his 9th round KO win over Vic Darchinyan last Saturday night, according to Steve Kim. There’s still no official word as to whether it’s a fracture or not, but it’s got to be something serious enough for Donaire to miss that much time.
As earlier reported, Donaire had mentioned that he wanted to fight WBA/WBO super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux next, but Donaire’s promoter Bob Arum instead is going to match him against WBA featherweight champion Nicholas Walters, a champion that’s not nearly as well known as the other three featherweight champions. However, Walters gives Donaire the best chance of picking up a belt at featherweight because he doesn’t appear to be at the same level as featherweight champions Jhonny Gonzalez, Evgeny Gradovich and Orlando Salido. Those three fighters would be very, very tough outs for Donaire, and at this point you would have to favor all three to KO Donaire if he were to face them.
Donaire was a good fighter at super flyweight, bantamweight and super bantamweight, but he doesn’t look like the same guy that he once was since he was schooled by Rigondeaux last April. Donaire looked like a shell of his former self in his fight with Darchinyan last Saturday night, and had that been a good featherweight instead of a past his best 37-year-old Darchinyan, it’s probably safe to say that Donaire would have been beaten badly.
Donaire seems to be just looking for one big punch in his fights nowadays, and that’s going to get him into all kinds of problems at featherweight because these guys are bigger and they’ll likely be able to handle Donaire’s power and outwork him the way that Darchinyan was. If Donaire’s only way of winning is by knockout, then he’s not going to last long in this division unless Arum carefully matches him to avoid the really top guys. Donaire can probably beat Walters to pick up his title, but that won’t make Donaire a champion. He’ll be a title holder, but not the top guy in the division. Even if Arum chooses not to match Donaire against the other champions in the division besides Walters, he’ll eventually have to face #3 WBA Gary Russell Jr., because he’s ranked high enough to where he’ll be able to get a title shot against Donaire if he picks up the belt from Walters next May. Russell Jr. is very fast and with good power. I would favor him over Donaire if that fight were to be made, and it would have to be made unless Arum would have Donaire vacate the title in order to avoid the fight.
I see Donaire getting beaten soundly sooner or later at featherweight and then having to move back down to super bantamweight where his superior size gives him an advantage over a lot of the top fighters in this division. At featherweight, Donaire wouldn’t have a size advantage over anyone and he would have to find another way to win his fights.